The Royals have designated pitcher Chien-Ming Wang for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Jason Vargas. Vargas was activated from the 60-day disabled list to make his first start of the season tonight against Chicago. The 36-year old Wang was signed as a minor league free agent last winter and made the team out of spring training. In 53 1⁄3 innings this year, he had a 4.22 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 18 walks.
The groundball artist had been out of Major League baseball for three seasons before the Royals took a chance on him. He added some velocity to his fastball under the guidance of pitching guru Ron Goforth and was able to pitch his most Major League innings since 2011. Wang pitched mostly in long relief and in low-leverage situations for the Royals.
Vargas makes his first start since last July, when he was diagnosed with a UCL injury, requiring Tommy John surgery. The Royals expect him to go three innings before giving way to Dillon Gee, who was originally scheduled to start today.